SRP $26.98 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1 MAGNOLIA

MAGNOLIA has just released a bold, refreshing, romantic comedy, "THE GIRL FROM MONACO," on dvd.  Fabrice Luchini plays Bertrand, a well regarded French lawyer, whose current case takes him to Monaco, in order to defend a lady charged with killing a Russian mobster. Due to the dangerous affiliations of the victim, a tough, but likeable bodyguard, Christophe, is assigned to protect Bertrand.  While the bodyguard and lawyer grow to quickly respect each other, their friendship and safety becomes imperiled when Bertrand falls in love with a beautiful local weathergirl, whom Christophe had been involved with previously.  "THE GIRL FROM MONACO" carefully, but creatively ventures into territory visited before, yet veers in directions one can't predict. The blend of sensuality, comedy and suspense is terrific, and "THE GIRL FROM MONACO" is one of the most enjoyable films of the past or any year!

Presented with the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio(it's still annoying to find other dvd releases are still cropped!)the image offers generally solid colors. However, the exotic setting of Monaco is undermined sporadically due to a surprisingly darker look than this reviewer recalls in its theatrical release. The result tends to dull an otherwise impressive production design. It's hard to imagine Monaco as looking dull, but it does at times, as presented in this transfer. Some scenes sport a perfect image, only to be bookended with ones that are dark. Detail, is impressive at times, but, again, becomes undermined substantially in many of the night sequences.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound offers an impressive mix. While not aggressive, surround effects, music and dialogue are perfectly balanced throughout, and fidelity is top-notch. An impressive mix, especially when one may be growing accustomed to lossy mixes offered on blu-ray.